South Africans celebrate freedom day today in remembrance of the first democratic and non-racial election in 1994 as well as the contribution of those who fought to bring political freedom to all. It does seem like a lifetime away right now but I do remember the atmosphere and excitement around the time.
We have our political freedom but are we truly free? Freedom is more than political and somewhere along the line the rights of citizens to enjoy social freedoms has been drastically diminished. While we now have freedom to live where we want, educate our kids where we want and my personal favourite is to swim in whatever beach we choose. Somehow our freedom of movement is limited.
How much longer will our beautiful country be referred to as a young democracy? As freedom day is celebrated my prayer is that those in power would find a way forward for us to be truly free in our country. From the city to the farms people should be free from fear and intimidation. South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
Like Martin Luther King I have a dream too. I dream of a South Africa where we will be truly free because if we’re not free to enjoy the vast beauty of our land then I’m sad to say we are mere prisoners. Let freedom reign!
Have you heard from Johannesburg? I watched this rather thought-provoking documentary and it was a really good reminder of the many men and woman who put their lives on the line to bring so many oppressed South Africans to political freedom and many other social liberties.
This is my shout out to Oliver Tambo who fought relentlessly to get the voices of the downtrodden heard in Europe and America. After a lifetime of campaigning for an end to apartheid and the right to vote he died a year before the first democratic election.
There are those who fight for freedom and those who secure and celebrate that freedom. South Africa has come a long way from the days of the state of emergency and the group areas act. There is still so much more to be done. ”After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb” Nelson Mandela
Today was indeed a dark day in South African history. The approval of the protection of state information bill has sent shivers down my spine. The ruling party seems to favour personal privacy above the democracy that was fought for by many brave people. Being in public service requires some kind of accountability. My only hope now is that our relatively spineless president will see how ridiculous this vote is and ensure that the press and people of South Africa have the freedom to express themselves and stand up for what is right.
This culture of lack of accountability and secrecy is a common way in which countries with dictators are run. Surely we are past revolution speeches and just need to function as a true democracy. This bill has the potential to ruin the fabric of our free country and that would be a tragedy!